Asia - Pacific, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

South Korea to begin COVID-19 vaccination next month

President Moon says all citizens to be vaccinated free of charge

Islam Uddin   | 11.01.2021
South Korea to begin COVID-19 vaccination next month

ANKARA 

South Korea on Monday announced that it will begin COVID-19 vaccination from February as the country expects to receive the first batch of vaccines in coming weeks, according to local media.

President Moon Jae-in while announcing the move said all citizens will be vaccinated free of charge, Yonhap News Agency quoted him as saying during his New Year's address to the nation.

The government "will make sure that all people will be inoculated free of charge in accordance with priorities," said the president.

The country has signed contracts with some vaccine makers and expected to receive the first batch in coming weeks.

Moon added that the government will continue to encourage South Korea's own vaccine development as part of efforts for "vaccine sovereignty" and "global health care cooperation," he added.

The president hoped that his country will recover from the pandemic in 2021, and apologized to those who have suffered difficulties due to restrictions against the disease.

During his speech, he also announced that his country will "actively consider" to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 11-party free trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region, while speeding up a push to forge free trade agreements with the Philippines, Cambodia, and Uzbekistan.


New COVID-19 cases

On Monday, South Korea reported 451 new cases during the past 24 hours, the lowest daily cases recorded by the country in the last 41 days.

With the new infections, the country's caseload rose to 69,114, the agency quoted Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency latest data.

"The COVID-19 pandemic is on the path toward a slow downturn, yet the danger of cluster infections on the community level still persists," said Jeong Eun-kyeong, head of the disease control agency.

With 15 more fatalities, South Korea's death toll from the disease rose to 1,140.


* Writing by Islamuddin Sajid.

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